In Colorado Springs Friendship Fellowship looks like any other church. The guitarist starts a prelude, a welcoming song and opens with a word from Psalm 100.
Psalm 100A psalm for giving thanks.
1 Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come to him with songs of joy.
3 I want you to realize that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we belong to him.
We are his people.
We are the sheep belonging to his flock.
4 Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple.
Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
It will last for all time to come.
Lenny a percussionist begins the beat with the congas as the congregation claps hands, shakes tambourines and sings "He has made me glad."
The worship sounds like any, acoustic and rhythmic, Biblical and harmonic. There are other shouts and laughter and it is just then that the visitor to Friendship Fellowship realizes that the congregants are a mix of staff, family and caregivers for a day program designed for people with special needs. "They started off wanting a Bible study," says Pastor Rich. It has grown with study, worship and the most fundamental expressions of prayer, relationship building and fellowship. This is their church and we meet them where they are." The worship set continues with a more contemporary group of songs mixed with traditional hymns. "Next Tuesday they will install a young man with Cerebral Palsy as an elder. A blessing and anointing based on questions on the basic tenants and doctrine of the church are asked. Next week people will be baptized and receive communion and they will begin a unit of study that combines aspects of the Trinity.
He has made me Glad
Holy is the Lord- God Almighty
Then there is a responsive psalm (104)
The Friends have done a unit on Psalms and responded well and while this is a sampling for practice and preparation. Then there is the reading. The public expression of faith and more songs:
Proclamation - "Mystery of Faith"
Lord I am not worthy to receive the bread- only say the word and I shall be healed...
Invitation-Hold on Together
"The invitation into God's Family is what this is all about. There is leadership, there is discipleship and there is fellowship," Pastor Rich tells the group. He reads a portion of Paul's letter to Timothy (1-Tim 6:11-12, 20-21)
There is a short message- about this passage and what it meant to people in the early church and what it means to us now.
Then there are the closing songs
The Lord's Prayer
Our God is Greater
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
In this week of preparation there are logistics to work out.
Baptism, Communion Scriptural Basis from 1 Corinthians
2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
3 and all ate the same spiritual food,
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ….
6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.
Friendship Fellowship is a network of special churches for people with special needs. It is non-denominational and is in partnership with Ancient Paths Church Network and Word and Spirit Network based in Denver and Colorado Springs. If you would like to volunteer, help support the cause or start a new Friendship Fellowship in your community please e-mail Pastor Rich Friendshipfellowship@juno.com.